I’ve eyed the Cinco de Miler for years and coveted the sombrero medal, alas I could never make the date work. Until this year. I was extra delighted when they offered a suburban option for packet pickup as trekking into the city is a pia on race day is more than enough trekking for me.
Since the race didn’t start until 9, I was able to wake at my usual time and be casual about fuel/coffee, etc. It was still warm, 67 degree, however thunder rumbled and a few large drops of rain fell as I pulled out of the driveway.
The rain increased as I headed into the city to pickup Emily and was a full-blown thunderstorm before I was halfway there. Traffic crawled and I worried I’d be late, but that didn’t happen. We made it to Soldier Field with time to spare but the entire start area had been evacuated due to lightning. Yikes. Would the race be cancelled? Delayed?
Thankfully everything blew over as we sat in traffic to the parking garage. Except now a cold front came in with vicious winds. I decided to wear my jacket to the starting area and gear check it.
No bib = bandit?
As I stuffed my gear check bag, panic set in when I realized I did not have my race bib. I knew I had it in the car because I put it on my bib belt. Did I leave it in the car? Drop it somewhere along the way? Leave it in the bathroom? Should I race back to the car? There simply wasn’t time. For the first time ever, I became sort of a “pseudo bandit”. Just my luck they were carefully checking bibs at the corral entrance so we waited for the starting gun to just sort of blend in and go.
Emily and I made a fun run out of this one and took our sweet time and gabbed away. With winds the way they were it was perfect. We pulled over for skyline pics and to enjoy the course mariachis. I was grateful I kept my long sleeve half-zip on.
I was a little nervous I’d be denied a finisher’s medal with no bib but that was not the case. I wasn’t able to get any food though because a tear off part of the bib was needed to enter the food/beer tents. No big deal since I’m not much of a post-race eater and beer is not my bag. Emily was kind enough to share her food with me.
What I didn’t need a bib for was to ride the mechanical bull. There’s a bucket list item fulfilled! Ha!
While I had no (ok not too much) problem showing the bull who’s boss, I do have to say the hardest part of said bull riding is getting on the damn thing. I sort of did a running/jumping/springboard type approach that got me hanging on (and laughing) for dear life. My kids are so proud.
Pros: Overall it was a really well-done race. The Mexican theme was really fun and they did a great job of carrying it through all aspects of the day. The course was a portion of the Soldier Field 10 mile as we ran South through the McCormick Place tunnel and continued down Lake Shore Drive then headed back North via the Lakefront Path. The race shirt may be my all-time fave. I originally hoped for a sombrero medal and I feared the donkey was going to be a keychain, but it turned out to be a cute little “ass” medal that is super fun and gets two maracas up from me.
Cons: In typical Chicago style, the weather is unpredictable. Parking was pricey (what else is new?) at $20. Although I appreciate the effort to offer a suburban packet pickup, having it for only 2 hours in the middle of the evening rush could not have been less convenient. I was hard pressed to make it across town in heavy traffic and had to do lots of mom-taxi juggling to make this happen.
Finish Time: 48:14 9:46 pace. Perfectly happy with that. When we got back to the car post-race, I found my bib and race belt had fallen down and wedged between the seat and door, partly under the seat. Mystery solved.
How was your week? Did you enjoy Mother’s Day? Enter my giveaway?
Tomorrow’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is Destination Races: How much do they really cost? Join us!